Fact Check: Netanyahu Did NOT Say In October 2023 That 'America Is A Thing You Can Move Very Easily' -- Recording Was Made In 2001

Fact Check

  • by: Uliana Malashenko
Fact Check: Netanyahu Did NOT Say In October 2023 That 'America Is A Thing You Can Move Very Easily' -- Recording Was Made In 2001 Old Tape

Did Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu describe the United States as "a thing you can move very easily" just one week after the October 7, 2023, Hamas invasion? No, that's not true: The tape in which he made the remark reportedly was recorded in 2001. The footage was made public in media accounts for the first time in 2010, not in 2023 or early 2024.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) on Instagram on January 15, 2024. The top banner embedded in the video opened:

NETANYAHU Filmed on hidden camera! Date: 10/14/2023. 2/3 Tilt your phone. Netanyahu is 'maneuvering' the US

In the post, the horizontally oriented footage was uploaded vertically. Yellow subtitles seen on the left part of the screen continued:

America is something you can easily maneuver and move in the right direction.

This is what it looked like on Instagram at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2024-01-16 at 12.21.18 PM.png

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Tue Jan 16 17:21:18 2023 UTC)

The poor-quality video showed Netanyahu talking with a group of people in what appeared to be a private residence.

Contrary to the claim, the scene did not take place in October 2023.

The video was first released in 2010 by an Israeli TV show named "This Week with Mickey Rosenthal" aired by Channel 10. The caption, as translated by Chrome, said:

A rare glimpse: the Prime Minister in a personal meeting with settlers.

A copy of the report is also available on YouTube with the date July 10, 2010.

A 2010 Washington Post news article reported that the footage was recorded in 2001. According to the Post article, Netanyahu "bragged how he undercut the peace process when he was prime minister during the Clinton administration." The Washington Post pointed out that the recording was released after rounds of talks aimed at improving bilateral relations between the Obama administration and Netanyahu, then already the prime minister again.

In 2001, when the recording in question was reportedly made, Netanyahu, who had previously held the office of prime minister, worked in the private sector, as his official biography (archived here) states.

A 2010 article published by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz added that the meeting took place at "the home of a bereaved family in the settlement of Ofra" in the West Bank.

The story about the tape was also reported by Al Jazeera and the Huffington Post in 2010.

While the translation of Netanyahu's phrase about the United States seen on Instagram was slightly different from the English quote used by news organizations, those versions did not substantially contradict each other.

It was not immediately clear to what degree Netanyahu was unaware of filming and why the tape was published only nine years later.

Other Lead Stories fact checks about claims related to the Hamas-Israel war that began on October 7, 2023, can be found here.

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  Uliana Malashenko

Uliana Malashenko is a New York-based freelance writer and fact checker.

Read more about or contact Uliana Malashenko

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